Richards boldly backs Newcastle man for huge England, Euro 2024 role ‘if Everton go down’

Jason Soutar
Former England defender Micah Richards on punditry duty.
Micah Richards on punditry duty.

Former Manchester City defender Micah Richards thinks Newcastle United goalkeeper Nick Pope will be England’s No. 1 at Euro 2024.

Pope joined Newcastle from Burnley for around £10million last summer.

He had a stellar debut campaign at St James’ Park, keeping 14 clean sheets in 37 Premier League appearances.

His fine form helped the Magpies finish fourth, qualifying for the Champions League for the first time in two decades.

And Pope kept a clean sheet on his maiden appearance in Europe’s premier competition, shutting out AC Milan’s attack at San Siro.

After the 0-0 draw, Pope said: “There were so many positives on the night as well as lessons to take from the game.

“But I was really proud of the lads for their resilience and the character that we showed to get the point.

NEWS: Romano drops huge Newcastle ‘here we go’ as 25-year-old ‘agrees new deal’ with release clause

“It’s a difficult place to come and it was also a quick turn-around from the weekend. But I am really proud of the boys for what they gave on and off the ball. They protected my goal.

“Obviously we couldn’t get the goal at the other end, but it was a tremendous effort.”

Since making his England debut in June 2018, Pope has only played ten times for his country.

Everton’s Jordan Pickford has always performed well for England, giving Gareth Southgate no reason to drop him.

This has made Pope, Aaron Ramsdale, Dean Henderson, and Sam Johnstone’s chances of playing very difficult, but ex-England international Richards thinks Pope is guaranteed to be Southgate’s first-choice goalkeeper for the Euros next summer.

“He will be number one in the Euros at the end of the season,” Richards told the Rest is Football Podcast.

“Pope will be the number one. 100%.

“If Everton go down and he loses confidence, he [Pickford] could [lose his place].”

Pope’s last appearance for the Three Lions came in the 3-3 draw against Germany in the Nations League in September 2022.

READ MORE: The longest winning runs to start a Premier League season, who stopped them and where they finished